Triathlon NZ Launches Tri Nz National Talent Programme
29 October 2013
For immediate release from Triathlon New Zealand, for further information visit www.triathlon.org.nz
Triathlon New Zealand Launches Tri Nz National Talent Programme
Triathlon New Zealand is delighted to announce the launch of a new package of initiatives under the banner of the Tri NZ ‘National Talent Programme’ to support aspiring young triathletes to reach their Olympic goals. (The NTP supersedes the successful National Youth Academy, which has laid the foundations of education and inspiration for young athletes.)
The National Talent Programme will include regional and national athlete and coach support, including the formation of a new National Talent Squad, beginning from the start of 2014. By linking closely with the Tri NZ High Performance Squads, the Tri NZ National Talent Programme will complete a clear and tangible pathway for athletes from Talent Identification to World Class podia.
Tri NZ High Performance Director Graeme Maw outlined how vital the National Talent Programme is to the overall high performance strategy.
“The National Talent Programme is a critical step in our vision to provide a sustainable high performance environment to produce international medal-winning athletes,” said Maw.
“Athletes looking towards Tokyo 2020 have a dream, but to act firmly on that dream they need to be able to see and feel the next step, and that their efforts are rewarded. By linking local and national support, and inter-linking Youth, Talent and High Performance Squads, the NTP will provide support and motivation to add to the foundations being laid by coaches around the country.”
The National Talent Squad will include approximately 15 athletes aged 15-19 identified as having the most potential to achieve elite international success. The athletes will benefit from some performance support services and coaching in their home regions; coaching, training and competition support as a National Squad; and assisted access to equipment. For example in 2014, the Squad will periodically train alongside the HP Squads at the National High Performance Centre in Cambridge, will be supported to contest the Youth Olympic Games selection race in Penrith, NSW and a further international experience, and will receive expert input on conditioning, nutrition and performance lifestyle.
Feeding the National Talent Squad will be Regional Youth Academies, coming together periodically to locally support aspiring athletes as the first rung on the High Performance pathway. These are essentially an evolution of the current National Youth Academy, which this year has already engaged 50 youths around the country, and will now give way to the National Talent Programme.
The launch of the National Talent Programme is accompanied by the release of Tri NZ’s revised Athlete Pathway, describing the characteristics of high performance athletes at various stages of the journey from Talent Identification to World Class podia. The Pathway draws on extensive research of the competition background of Olympic medal-winning triathletes during the past 4 Olympiads, and data projection to winning performances in 2016. It is the platform on which Tri NZ HP will identify, select and track athletes in relation to the National Talent Squad and High Performance Squads during the present Olympic cycle. For example, boys seeking selection for the National Talent Squad should aim to run 4:20 min for 1500 m and swim close to 2:10 min for 200 m, with the girls’ equivalent being 4:48 min and 2:20 min.
The National Talent Programme will be led by National Talent Development Coach, Tim Brazier, and is designed in collaboration with High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ).
“I am very excited about leading this new initiative,” said Brazier. “The National Talent Programme enables us to provide an environment where the athletes can regularly come together to be challenged and learn from the coaches, the HP Squad and each other, to enhance their performance potential. The key focus in this environment is to build the fundamentals both physically and mentally required to transition into being highly competitive in an elite training and racing environment.”
HPSNZ Athlete Development Advisor Adrian Blincoe sees Tri NZ’s National Talent Programme as extremely encouraging.
“It will provide an environment that better prepares young triathletes for high performance, with the ultimate goal of podium placings at the Olympics. The integrated approach of support to athlete and coach, access to centralised training camps in a high performance environment, and exposure to international competition will increase the probability of delivering medals in 2020 and beyond.”
The National Talent Programme will be further supported by former triathlon Olympian Debbie Tanner as Ambassadors providing mentoring, insight and inspiration to the young athletes involved.
Tanner is keen to be involved and pass on her knowledge.
“I am thrilled to be involved as an Ambassador in the National Talent Programme. I look forward to passing on some of my knowledge from over 10 years of international racing experience and being able to work with the champions of tomorrow.”
The priority for Brazier and Maw is to identify the athletes for both NTS and RYA levels. For 2014, this process will be finalised through a Triathlon Youth Festival to be held at Auckland’s Millennium Institute 19-20 December. Including the 50 athletes already engaged by the Youth Academy so far this year, the Festival is open to all aspiring young athletes from triathlon, swimming and/or running backgrounds to try out for the National Talent Programme.